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Four Cake Birthday


My birthday this year turned out to be pretty good as they go. And the food wasn't bad either. I threw a party and Kat brought a ginger cake and Lara brought a lemon meringue pie. At work I was celebrated twice, once in the photo department with a homemade flourless chocolate cake made by Samantha, and in neighborhoods by Ali who made an apple crumble. It was humbling. What good friends.

I really missed my New York friends, though. I also had a visceral moment of longing for my old house and garden. This feeling was brought while arranging wildflowers in the big glass jar that I used in Brooklyn to make fresh pepppermint tea after picking it in my yard. I loved being able to go into my yard and pick things, before parties, to put in vases all around the house. Touching the jar put me right back in that big open kitchen, with my bedroom upstairs among the trees, all my books, all the parties, the friends I miss dearly.

In other news, there has been more interest in my Why Science Needs Art class, and I will be spending the weekend putting together a syllabus and updating my CV. I've been working hard to advance the photogaphy in neighborhoods at Airbnb, continuing to hire photographers in Seoul, Mexico City, New Orleans. Dating has been fun lately, and my brother comes to town tonight! We will be going to the veterans of the battle of midway memorial dinner with Grandpa Phil this weekend.


Newly Discovered 

The most interesting artists I was happy to discover at the recent review, Esther Teichmann and Maia Flore. The above hand tinted photograph is by Teichmann, titled: Mythologies, 2008. (from An Impossible Place)

Maia Flore described the sweet series called Two Directions that she made in collaboration with her boyfriend. They were having a long distance relationship--so each time they were reunited, they made a photograph together as a way to step back into the space between them, to be together again, and shed the awkwardness bestowed by distance. The below is by Maia Flore, from another set of images. Titled: Because the night (never ends)



This weekend was the PhotoAlliance portfolio review, where I saw some exciting work. I also got to catch up with friends--Laura Sackett, who is putting the finishing touches on master-list, an exciting new website, Taj Forer and Michael Itkoff who sold me on writing about a new Daylight release After Hiroshima by Elin O'Hara Slavick, Lisa Sutcliffe who recently left sfmoma to become the photography curator at the Milwaukee Art Museum, etc. There were several very strong bodies of work being shown, many of them from women. I will post some of my favorites here in the next few days. This is my first time doing the PhotoAlliance review as a local, in previous years I came from NYC where it was miserable and freezing. I appreciated the sun and clear skies the same way this year--the charm of perfect weather has not worn off.

I finally took my film down to Lightwaves and had it processed and proofed. The exposed film sat around for a least a month, I think. It may be that I will have to wait until the summertime when Ollie is with his father in Brooklyn to really begin again seriously. Ideas are piling up, but it all seems distant. As usual, when I let too much time pass between making work---I get nervous and worry about how to get back in. I named this photograph after a certain Frenchman I know who is preoccupied with matters of the palate. I wanted to call it "Le Seasoning" but that just sounded too crass.


Welcome Home

Yesterday I had a blueberry-soy smoothie at tea-time, exited the Bart station behind a full grown man wearing home made leg warmers, commuted over the Bay Bridge in a car with two other perfect strangers listening to NPR (hello casual carpool), and had fish tacos and beer over dinner with a charming and handsome single guy. Let me count ways that California says welcome home!

I found this intriguing image in a collage series called Mobiles by Mexcio City-based photographer Javier Sirvent. He came recommended by a new favorite photographer of mine, Caro Patlis, who has been absolutley killing it, shooting for me in Buenos Aires for the airbnb neighborhoods project. At any rate, I love this image, and the blue skirt on the left side. It made me think more about collage, and has me thinking again about photographers who have done this well, like Gilbert Garcin. It is true that collage has a completely different feeling from digitally manipulated images that do basically the same thing. Will think about this more and do a post with images..

In other news, finally completed the catalogue essay for photographer Johnna Arnold's upcoming show at Traywick Contemporary in Berkeley on March 17th. Writing the essay was fun and challenging, but throughout I was dogged by the feeling that these are the kinds of things no one ever reads! I did my best, but I'm not sure I suceeded in breaking the mold. 



Saronaya St. Valentine!

Here is a shot of the Wired issue I worked on--the shoot of Topspin CEO Ian Rogers shot for me by Eric Ray Davidson, and the Fallon cover where I had a lot of fun sourcing FX makeup artists. I spent a long time in conversation with the guy who did all the Star Wars movie special effects makeup. Naturally, the Wired shoot wasn't challenging enough for him--but I got to hear behind-the-scenes Star Wars stories anyway.

What is it about Valentines day that so often spells romantic doom? This year was hard. I ended an intense affair the day before. Of course I knew it was the right thing to do--but it is still sad to say goodbye. I wonder about what seems to be my fear of committment. I seem to consistently date men who are emotionally remote, passing over the ones that are serious about me.

Went to work in patent leather stilettos and a pantsuit yeseterday to tip my hat at team spirit at airbnb--Fridays are "Formal Fridays" and people get dressed up. Which makes sense in dressed-down California. I'm working on assigning photographers in Bangkok, New Orleans, Hawaii, Sydney, Miami and Buenos Aires for a new project launch at the end of the month.

In other news, I have been trying to figure out how to add a consulting section to my resume to reflect the work I've been doing for various clients, including the Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, Swissnex and others. I'm looking forward to beginning a regular writing assignment for the National Academy of Sciences--hopefully this week. Also finishing up a catalogue essay.



At City Hall


I've been working at the glossy start-up airbnb HQ in San Francisco for a week. It's been a lot of fun so far, and it is easy to get used to the ammenities. Yes, you can bring your dog. Yes, you can work standing up, sitting down or laying down. If you like you can work at a computer while walking on a treadmill. At any time of the day you can have fresh squeezed OJ, Sightglass coffee or espresso, freshly made vegetable/fruit juice along with a gourmet lunch. Each floor of the office has a kitchen, along with the de riguer ping pong tables and in-office bike storage.

The SFAC opening at City Hall on Wednesday was a blast, very crowded, and full of interesting artists--Ollie and my dad were there for a while, I saw lots of friends and Carrie and I had a lovely dinner afterwards--my dad took the above of Linda Connor and me. I'm not sure how I felt about my work, but it was fun anyway. I am ready to do some new work! Perhaps while Joel is here I'll get some more studio time.

This weekend I went to Zumba class with Kat and Linda and it was relevatory! The kids played on the ipad while we danced ourselves silly. I tried to picture my New York self doing the same and I just couldn't picture it. I imagined that I would get in trouble with my New York self for this kind of fun.

My Dad was here in Berkeley with Ollie and I all week--he was great. He cooked, he picked up and dropped off Ollie at school all week. We hosted a dinner for family at my apartment and made some super tasty cider braised pork shoulder.



Cup Runneth Over

Thursday I spent most of the day in a symposium hosted by the Center for Information Technology In the Interest of Society (CITRIS--seriously, these academics and thier fondness for acronyms!) group on Berkeley campus all about Data. It was a gift to spend the day listening to presentations from scientists, start-up techies, government and artists. I am so glad to be here in this incredibly rich intellectual environment where people are still idealistic. I rode my bike up onto the campus--a mile or so from my house!  Even though I complain a lot about Berkeley and the bay area, I really have to say I'm enjoying the small town life of Berkeley--for a small town it is an incredible international community.

Last night Ollie and I met Ann and Luke at a PhotoAlliance lecture at sfai for dinner, wine and conversation before the James Henkel/Sean McFarland lecture. I enjoyed talking to James Henkel over dinner, discussing some favorite still life photographers. His work and my work have an affinity in some places. Incredibly, the boys stayed quiet for the entire Sean McFarland lecture and three minutes of James Henkel's--then it was time to hustle them out. Sean McFarland's work is intriguing--the tiny images are dense with simultaneous inquiry and visual pleasure. Will see if I can feature some of his fake weather images on or PNAS..The above image is by James Henkel from his Light Work series, called "Brim".

Johnna helped me out by modeling for a shoot last week and I should have images to post soon--still don't have a regular lab or film/prop shop here.


Photoalliance 7th Annual Review 

Friday thru Sunday March 15-17, 2013 in San Francisco, California, PhotoAlliance will be hosting its 7th annual portfolio review. This is one of my favorite reviews--it is where I found photographers like Adam Magyar, Johnna Arnold, Benjamin Drummond & Sara Joy Steele, Kirk Crippens, Sangyon Joo and others that I've since been able to hire or write about in national media. In addition to seeing tons of amazing work there is good food, dialogue and exchange of ideas and information.

For photographers, especially those in the bay area, this review is an excellent opportunity to get your work seen by editors, gallerists, curators and others who come from all over to participate. Hope to see you there! Two images by Johnna Arnold above.